In case you hadn’t heard already, Specialized has just announced the Carbon Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Pro 27.5. You can get all the details of the bike right here, though read on for our first ride review from local Calder Valley tester, Nick Cummins. Over to Nick for the review.
If like me, you’re a mountain bike nerd, the release of a new Stumpjumper is always something to look forward to. While some complain that it is the Ford Mondeo of the mountain bike world, there always seems to be an interesting model tucked away – an RS fire breathing monster with the daft whale tail.
This time we were in for a real surprise.
Released in aluminum only, the Stumpjumper EVO leapt out from the lineup; low slung, stretched out and looking very proto, it caught everyone’s attention. I remember Wil testing it on a press outing in Spain and finding it “vaguely terrifying”. All very unlike Specialized.
There have been previous iterations of the EVO name attached to various Specialized bikes in the past, and there’s an Epic EVO available to buy now, but none have ever been as extreme as this bike. After some very favourable reviews of the metal version, here then, offered for test is the bike that no one will be surprised has been released: The carbon version of the Stumpy EVO.
Where the original was all brushed bare metal “proto/race” looking test rig, this semi satin finished carbon version looks the opposite; much more the finished article. All black component choices making it look stealthy. Very much Batman’s Mountain bike.
It can be a tough look to pull off well, all black bikes sometimes can look, let’s be honest, a bit cheap, but Specialized has managed it. The silhouette of the bike helps to give the whole thing a purposeful stance.
A closer look at the component choices shout rather than hint at the bike’s intended purpose. There’s a 150mm travel Fox 36 Performance Elite fork out front, which gear snobs may point out hasn’t the benefit of Kashima coated stanchions. But once pressurised and set up, it performed faultlessly in test, only being slightly outshone by the Fox DHX2 coil shock out the back.
Code RSC brakes with 200mm rotors all round, made for brutally efficient braking with all the adjustment you could possibly need. Even on my steep trails, in the dry I found I could happily control my speed with the just the rear brake, almost bringing the bike to a complete stop on one occasion in order to regain my balance to make a particularly sharp stepped turn. Top stoppers then. Be warned though when the weather turns wet they do like to sing…
The drivetrain is exclusively GX and although from the more moderately priced end of SRAM’s Eagle family still offers wide range, snappy changes. Climbing feels almost like cheating in the big 50t rear.
The seat post is Specialized’s new Command dropper, which in car park tests rises with wince-inducing haste. In use, however, its light action means that it’s easy to control with your legs and body weight, so I’m happy to report, no soft parts were harmed during the testing of the EVO.
Specialized’s own Butcher GRID 2.6in trail tyres around Roval carbon rims made for an interesting combo. Boost hubs, on 27.5in carbon rims with a stiff fork, meant that the front of this bike will go exactly where it’s pointed – something that the Butcher Grid tyre on the front at least sometimes found difficult to cooperate with. The end result was often a bit “Tight, but loose” as our surfing cousins would say. Especially in the wet, it wasn’t particularly confidence inspiring.
The frame has internal cable routing, with the SWAT box and bottle cage all present and correct. These I’ve found will happily swallow everything from spare inner tubes and pumps to food, and even a gilet on one occasion. Combined with the SWAT tool hidden in the stem (and released by a very smoothly swinging top cap and pleasing pop up action) which includes a chain tool and spare chain link holder, means that you can easily have an evening’s blast unencumbered by a backpack if you so chose.
Specialized’s own brand saddle and grips round off what I thought were well-chosen components. All this combined with a super slack 63.5° head angle, 450mm reach in this – the S2 size – and low bottom bracket height tick all the right “on point marketing segment” boxes.
So, has Specialized managed then, to put together a bike that actually rides as well as the specs sheet suggests? I was eager to find out.
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|Product:||Stumpjumper EVO Pro 27.5|
|Price:||£6800 / $9,000 AUD|
|Tested:||by Nick Cummins for 1 week|